5 Proactive Questions to Ask for a Lifetime

learning Aug 02, 2016

I'm a fan of questions.  It seems to me that questions are more important than answers because questions open us to possibilities while answers close everything down.  Once we think we have the answer, we stop asking the questions. In the language of Appreciative Inquiry, we grow in the direction of the questions we ask.  So questions are really important in our lives now and in the future.

This week Harvard Dean James Ryan gave a commencement address at Harvard and the video above is a small but key excerpt, the heart of the message, and it is perhaps the best commencement address I've ever heard. It had all the right elements for young people launching themselves out into the world pursuing their newly completed formal education AND it also was also spot on for the rest of us. 

He offers five questions that if asked regularly throughout our lives he suggests will make us successful AND happy. I think he's on to something really important for all of us as we go...

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Training OR Learning

learning Jul 26, 2016

Is the amount and complexity of knowledge you need to do your job increasing?

What's the learning curve like for someone newly hired?

Are you constantly needing to learn new information, skills and develop new capabilities so we do our work well?

Here's the deal. I’ve conducted training events for some 20 years. Most often the topics are determined by management, they're formal and structured as well as limited to very specific content. In my experience the content is often too much and gets crammed into the time allowed which is seldom enough for actual learning to happen. How often has this happened to you?

Lately I've been giving this a lot more thought while designing a process for learning that attempts to meet the needs of a diverse group of people from those new to their field to the ones that've been around awhile.

In looking at  models for attempting this -- I've had to ask some hard questions about what is possible (at least what I think is possible). I've...

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Taking a Learning Leap - Smart Phone Video

learning Jun 21, 2016

Don’t you love it when you learn to do something new or better with a tool you already have in your tool box? Me too. Some time ago I was introduced to The Missing Manual and iPhone Video Course where I’ve started learning how to shoot and share video using my iPhone. The nudge came from Gideon Shalwick who’s trainings I've taken before and benefited immensely from so I decided to give Jules Missing Manual and video training a try. Wow!

Here’s my top five things about the course:

  1. The training is video-based in small bites so you can learn and put what you learn into practice quickly
  2. He teaches the technical including all the details about hardware, software, and how-to
  3. All the basics that even us digital immigrants can jump in and learn
  4. Demonstrates how-to do everything
  5. He provides links to every tool and app he demonstrates so when you see something you’d like to replicate, you’ve got what you need to give it a go.

Jules Watkins has...

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Why To Believe in Others?

learning Jun 07, 2016

When it comes to why we should believe in others, no one says it better than Victor Frankl, and in only 4 minutes. What will you (and I) choose to believe about others as we listen to the news and monitor social media? 

What if we all practiced this one thing?
What would that make possible?

Some will say it is too simplistic, that no thing this small could every make a difference on a large scale.
But what if they’re wrong? What if choosing to believe the best of others makes all the difference?
Let’s give it a try. We don’t have anything to lose.

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Collaboration and Social Learning

learning May 24, 2016

I love this post by Harold Jarche. An elevator pitch in 10 sentences! It captures not only a business perspective but with some slight adjustments in language, these 10 pitch points capture what I believe is the gift of social learning and social media. I’ve borrowed and adjusted six of the ten that seem especially fitting to social learning in the work of creating community and organizational change. (Thank you Harold for the creative commons license).


  1. Complex and creative work is difficult to replicate, constantly changes and requires greater tacit knowledge — community work is among the most complex and yet often our solutions are often prescribed, programmatic and driven by funding streams.  While there’s room for these solutions, the surrounding environment (context) within which these programs exist is also an important influence. What works in one community will not in another requiring all those involved to develop deeper understanding and...
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